INSPECTIONS & TESTING
On-site diagnostic inspections and testing can reveal many hidden sources of expensive energy waste in both commercial and residential buildings.
How Southface Can Help
Southface helps building owners identify and address these problems through test protocols such as:
Blower Door and Duct Leakage Tests
Southface conducts blower door and duct leakage testing for new or existing homes and small commercial buildings to determine how much air leaks through the building and its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
A blower door test measures the leakiness of the building envelope. A building envelope that is not airtight will allow unwanted air infiltration, often felt as drafts by occupants. This results in high energy bills and poor indoor air quality because the air leaking through cracks and holes in the floors and ceilings is unfiltered and unconditioned.
A duct leakage test measures the leakiness of the building’s ductwork. Ten to thirty percent of a typical home's heating and cooling bill is spent on conditioning air that leaks out of the building through unsealed ducts. And while leaky supply ducts lose conditioned air, leaky return ducts pull unhealthy air into living areas from attics and crawl spaces.
Flow Hood and Static Pressure Testing
A flow hood test determines if there are flow restrictions in the building’s duct or exhaust fan system by measuring the direction and strength of air flowing though supply/return vents and exhaust fans. The test helps diagnose air flow problems in particular rooms, and even throughout an entire building, so that they can be addressed to allow greater occupant comfort, energy efficiency and cost savings.
Southface also performs static pressure testing, which measures the amount of air resistance that an HVAC system’s supply fan experiences. This test can help diagnose an unbalanced duct design that requires the fan to work too hard to distribute air, wasting money and energy and reducing occupant comfort.
Construction Walk-Throughs and Visual Inspections
Some construction details, such as installation of wall cavity insulation or energy-efficient framing, cannot be measured with a diagnostic test but can be confirmed during construction. Southface can visually inspect your building before drywall installation to evaluate potential air sealing and insulation problems, indoor air quality and durability issues, quality of duct installation, and anything else that could improve the energy performance of the home. Pre-drywall inspections are most effective after HVAC rough-in and before insulation, but Southface administers inspections during other phases of construction also. In addition, Southface inspectors are highly skilled at identifying potential moisture and durability issues.
Southface offers thermography testing, which provides an assessment of a residential or small commercial building’s insulation defects, air leakage problems and moisture-related issues through the use of thermal images. Southface testers have all been trained in accordance with the American Society of Nondestructive Testing Level I Thermography standards.
Combustion Safety Testing
Southface can identify combustion safety issues that have arisen from appliances and equipment that burn fuels such as natural gas, which can produce carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless, deadly gas. Carbon monoxide can be produced by appliances in a living area, or it can enter living areas through backdrafting that occurs when building pressurization is incorrect. Southface works with building owners to identify and correct potential health risks due to combustion-related carbon monoxide.